More to buying a car than getting the best deal

A car is one of the biggest purchases many of us make, but it’s not always a satisfying experience. JD Power says 31% of new car buyers consider the deal to be the most important thing. But its recent sales satisfaction survey found buyers focused on deals are less satisfied than the industry average.

The JD Power survey was the first held in Australia. It considered six weighted factors in the tricky process of buying a new car:

  • Buyer experience with salesperson (19%)
  • The deal itself (18%)
  • Delivery timing (17%)
  • Delivery process (17%)
  • Dealer facilities (16%)
  • Sales initiation (14%).

Best brands

The survey focused on satisfaction with brands of car, rather than individual dealerships. Even so, more satisfied respondents had an acquaintance at the dealership, or knew the dealership had a good reputation. The value of a good relationship with the dealer obviously works both ways, especially when it’s time to buy another new car.

Mazda provided the most satisfying experience of buying a new car. Compared to the industry average of 817 out of 1,000:

  • Mazda ranked highest at 840, especially for delivery
  • Hyundai and Honda tied second at 832
  • Toyota scored 825
  • Six of the top 10 highest-selling brands were below average.

Information overload

One of the potential problems with buying a new car is the sheer volume of information. This is where the salesperson can help.

Most car buyers search the internet during the purchase process and nearly half search and verify information while at the dealership. In spite of being well informed, they still like somebody to help them with their big decision.

Some 60% of customers decide which car they want to buy before they get to the dealership. But they still like to compare their choice with other models. JD Power found, more than half the time, the salesperson did not try to make comparisons unless the customer specifically asked for this.

Respondents to the survey were much more satisfied when they received quotes on a computer or tablet, rather than just verbally.

Buyers of new cars also like being shown all the features of a car, whether before or after delivery. Dealers who did this scored 134 points higher than those who didn’t bother.

The JD Power survey found two luxury brands, Audi and BMW, scored below the industry sales satisfaction average of 817 points. This was in spite of their focus on customer service. Perhaps expectations of the experience with luxury brands were higher.

Did you know it’s been a boom year for Australian new car sales?

Corrina Baird

Writer and expert

Corrina used to lend her car to her kids and discovered first hand what Ls, Ps and demerits mean for greenslips. After 20 years of writing and research in financial services, she’s an expert in the NSW CTP scheme. Read more about Corrina

your opinion matters:

Show Discussion